British author known for his humorous and satirical works, as well as for his frequent appearances on The News Quiz, a popular BBC radio program. He also appeared on Call My Bluff, a BBC TV game show.
He began his career by publishing articles in Punch magazine and The New Yorker. He went on to edit Punch magazine for nearly a decade.
In 1973, he succeeded Monty Python member John Cleese as the Rector of the University of St. Andrews.
He was born to a plumber and a hairdresser. With his wife Anne, he had two children: Giles and Victoria (both of whom grew up to be journalists).
He wrote a 1978 sitcom entitled The Losers. The series starred Leonard Rossiter and Alfred Molina.